2015 Mojacar, Granada & Almeria

Friday 19th June

7.40pm flight to Alicante & stayed at hostal Pensimar near the airport. Checked in then went to a bar close by for a drink & relax before bed. This is a great little hotel, friendly staff & open all hours for arrivals & departures.

Saturday 20th June

After breakfast we drove to Cartagena & stopped at Parc Naturale for coffee & frittata before driving on to Mojacar. Booked in to Casa Justa and met Eddy the owner who is very sweet. Unpacked then went to Cafe de Torino which is on the marble balcony area in the village and has fabulous views over Mojacar playa and is a great place to watch the sun setting. Had a really good tapas lunch there. We walked up to Just Jackie’s to say hi to Conny & phone Jac to announce our arrival. Jac came to meet us & we went to Bar Irene for coffee & a chat. Returned to the hotel afterwards for siesta then later we went out to Pulcinella restaurant for pizza & wine for dinner. If you climb up several levels to the rooftop restaurant there is a fabulous view of the village and the mountains which the sun sets behind. Had a lovely meal watching the sun go down, then a wander around the village shops before retiring to the balcony at Casa Justa for a last glass of wine before bed.

Sunday 21st June

Relaxed breakfast at Casa Justa on the balcony followed by another siesta as we were disturbed by noisy people coming in at 3.45am. At lunchtime we drove down to the beach for a leisurely lunch at Tito’s. Fabulous salads & freshly squeezed orange juice, we’ll be coming back here – this was my favourite restaurant last time I visited Jac. It was far too hot for a walk by the sea so we will have to do that in the evening. Back at the hostal we relaxed & listened to music & read till 6ish then went out for a walk & stopped for Vichy Catalan at Cafe de Torino before heading up to Bar Irene to meet Jackie. Had a drink & chat there then moved on to Casa Minguito for another drink where we giggled about a couple at the next table who had 2 dogs in a buggy with the rain cover pinned on to keep them in. Later Jackie went home after showing us Daniels place El Palacio, where we went up to the roof terrace to eat. Delicious steak burgers with potato wedges & salad accompanied by El Terrao wine, overlooking the sea & Mojacar all lit up for the night. This is a fantastic restaurant, we will definitely be back. Later on we strolled back to Casa Justa for a last drink on the balcony before bed.

Monday 22nd June

Coffee & melon for breakfast then packed & moved to a bigger bedroom No 105. After unpacking & settling in we went for a wander & bought a lovely tie dye maxi dress in the pretty shop up in the rocks near the elevator. Met Jac & Lisa at Bar Irene for coffee then went back to Jac’s for a cup of tea & a cuddle with the cats. Stopped at cafe de Torino for late tapas lunch which was not as good as yesterday’s here. Relaxed back at Casa Justa for a couple of hours then went down to the beach for a walk & a drink at Joe’s Beach bar - fab mojito in a lovely little marquee on comfy sofas by the sea. I bought a little Buddha candle at one of the little stalls that seem to appear in the evenings here. Went to Tito’s La Cantina for weird but nice minced beef fajitas, we prefer Tito’s beach restaurant. Later we drove back to the village & went for a drink in Candela, which opened recently yummy wine & interesting menu so must come to eat here, we were given lovely little samosa tapas with a yummy filling pancake roll style to go with our drinks. Back to Casa Justa & bed.

Tuesday 23rd June

After a late breakfast as we slept in we decided to go for a drive over the mountains to Carboneras. The drive over the mountains is pretty scary in places, but with magnificent views. We had a couple of photo stops en route. Had a stroll around the town which is small and pretty. Then walked down to the playa & found restaurante el Cabo surrounded by cacti on the beach. We decided it looked like a pretty place for lunch & weren’t disappointed. We were given a scrumptious little blended fresh tomato dish that was so fresh & piquant. Andrew had monkfish & prawn skewers with a light curry sauce. I had an avocado, smoked fish & fresh tomato mousse topped with prawns on a savoury crumble base - both amazing & so full of flavour too. Cafe solo to finish. We drove back stopping at Agua Enmedio to see the pretty little church with a lovely slate mosaic shell shape on the front above the door. It’s 30C again today so we will stay in the shade for a while. About 6.30pm we went to bar Irene to meet Jackie for coffee, chatted there for a while before moving on to cafe Inglesia for a drink. Popped into a little shop to buy a cute Indalo ashtray then headed off in the car to Garrucha for the San Juan bonfire festival. The place was heaving with people so we had difficulty parking. Wandered down to the beach & walked for ages but couldn’t find anywhere nice to eat that wasn’t packed already. Lots of funfair & stalls stuff but not a lot of bonfires – quite disappointing as that’s what we’d come here for. Eventually we gave up, went back to the car & drove to Mojacar playa to eat a really good dinner about midnight at Al Punto the Brazilian steak place before going back to hostal to sleep.

Wednesday 24th June

Up early for coffee, shower & pack to meet Jackie at Cherigan’s cafe as we are all off to Granada this morning. Had a wander through the market before having a coffee at the cafe where we met Jackie. Our drive through the mountains was lovely, we had one coffee stop en route. Jackie pointed out places where films had been made around this area. We collected the apartment keys from an hotel & dropped off our luggage, then parked up the car & found a cafe for a coffee. Wandered around lovely Granada for a while then got a taxi up to El Balcon de San Nicola’s restaurant opposite La Alhambra for a lovely late lunch. We went back down all the steps after a wander & some pix up at the balcony San Nicholas. Jac & I bought a pair of trousers each in the little shops around the steps. Sauntered all the way around Granada centre stopping every so often for a drink. Stopped at one of the pretty courtyard areas for dinner then eventually walked back to the apartment & sat outside in the lovely little courtyard for a drink. Andrew went off to bed leaving Jackie & I to chat till we were too tired to stay up any longer.

Thursday 25th June

I was up early, made coffee & sat in the pretty courtyard & drank it while reading my book. Showered & ready for the day before Andrew or Jac even woke up. Jac & I sat chatting after coffee while Andrew fetched the car to load up. Discovered we couldn’t drive around centre of Granada so went to park up again & got a taxi to the hammam, where we booked in and spent a wonderful 2 hours blissfully relaxing in the various pools & steam room, fabulous, we need to go to more hammams! Later we went to Torres Bermejas cafe for lunch just across from the hammam, we sat outside and were cooled down by little water sprinklers attached to the canopy above the tables – what a fantastic idea in this heat, I’m impressed. Afterwards it was time to get another taxi back to the car for the return journey to Mojacar. Again a coffee stop half way, a fabulous couple of days away with Jackie it was so good to spend some quality time with her and have a proper catch up. Dropped our stuff back at Casa Justa then went down to El Palacio for dinner again - totally OTT dinner tonight garlic prawns to share, lamb burger & wedges then cheesecake for Andrew & miso salmon with asparagus & sticky rice then scrumptious brownie & ice cream for me. Fabulous everything including the wine homemade limoncello for Andrew & tiramisu/caramel flavoured vodka to finish – an exquisite meal from start to finish, Daniel is an awesome chef! And so to bed……

Friday 26th June

Dreadful night of acid heartburn & squits - too much rich food me thinks. Recovered in time to have a coffee at Los Arcos before going to Wacky Hairdressers for my 1pm appt with Debbie. Hair all lovely again we went to sort out our laundry & had a couple of cold drinks at the Trufi bar on the beach whilst we waited. Washing done we went off to Tito’s for lunch by the sea. After a wander around the playa we went back to relax at Casa Justa out of the heat. Later we went down to Just Jackie’s for her closing down party. Had a chat to Jac & Martha & met Lesley at last, she’s lovely. Stayed chatting for a while then wandered a bit more had a drink At Candela, & found a lovely amethyst with green crystals rock to buy, then a beautiful dress in loads of colours with lovely jade edging.There are so many lovely little shops in the village. Ate at Rincon de Zahori – a fab terrace to watch the sunset but very boring pizza, won’t be back there again when there are wonderful restaurants close by!

Saturday 27th June

I had coffee & chat to Genevieve who is Eddy’s partner and is lovely, on the balcony while Andrew had a lie in. After breakfast we packed for overnight stay in Almeria, Andrew has booked us into the NH hotel for one night in room 509 which has a lovely kingsized bed. We parked up on arrival in a horrendously weeny garage & went for a wander along the beach. Found La Barca restaurant by the sea & had a lovely shellfish & meat paella for lunch. Fed the birds on the beach some bread while Andrew took photos. Walked back to the hotel via the pretty train station which we took pictures of & checked in to have a siesta before exploring the old town later when shops have reopened. It’s a nice hotel with large pretty suite & lovely bathroom with big fluffy towels & a big bath to try later. After our siesta we went out to wander around the old town, visited the old town hall & the cathedral, both beautiful old buildings set in a lovely old square. Stopped at the Burana bar for a paulaner beer & mojito, this bar has a marvellous stone balustrade surrounding it with lots of huge planters full of flowers. We then wandered some more around this old town, not many people speak English here, it really is not a tourist destination yet so is a very peaceful place to explore. Suddenly around 9pm the town came to life, restaurants all open & tables with candles appear in all the squares & little courtyards. We found Whatsabi restaurant for dinner, had seen it earlier but it was closed at the time, the service was very slow but good tempura vegetables & wasabi burgers. Returned to Burana for a night cap as it has such a great atmosphere, before heading back to the hotel. It’s till 29C at midnight & I’ve been burning up with hot flushes all day.

Sunday 28th June

Up late this morning, lovely sleep in the big bed, nice bath, then off to the railway cafe for coffee & water. Later on packed & checked out we went to find some breakfast at Candelas {same name different town} yummy omelette unexpectedly on a large tomato bread with coffee. A long climb up the hill then to La Alcazaba which is fabulous, we spent hours wandering around the lovely old castle ruins and it’s beautiful gardens with little water rills set all around it & cascading in some places parallel to the steps. I think it is wonderful to turn all the land around the ancient ruins into a beautiful garden for everyone to enjoy. We found Almedina tearoom on the way back down, a charming little Moroccan restaurant where we stopped for lunch, we ordered gazpacho & tabouli, almond soup & aubergine salad which we shared with fresh orange & carrot juice to drink - all lovely. Walked down the rest of the hill to collect the car for the drive back to Mojacar. Andrew had a siesta on our return so I read on the balcony for a while. Later we decided to try the hot tub so we both went down to bubble & relax for an hour before getting ready to go out. Went to Candela for a pre dinner drink, then to La Muralla for tropical & prawn & avocado salads, shared of course. Watched a lovely sunset from the terrace & enjoyed a cafe solo each.

Monday 29th June

Lazy start to the day, coffee on balcony & chat to Genevieve before Andrew got up, sat around reading as it’s 34C today so hot to go out yet. Went to Joe’s beach cafe, no real breeze today so we’re baking in the heat, went down to sit on the sofa by the beach for coffee & eventually a mojito, relaxing & reading our books till 3.30ish - bliss! Back at Casa Justa we had a siesta before going down to Just Jackie’s to meet Jac. Had a fizzy water each at Bar Irene before going to La Palacio to have one of Daniels amazing burgers each. Jac & I had brownies & Andrew had almond & orange cake for pudding - a wonderful dinner here again. Also lovely to spend the evening with Jac, not seeing as much of her as on my last visit. We parted then as Jac knackered from cleaning the bar ready to give back keys, we went back to hostal & had some wine on the balcony before bed.

Tuesday 30th June

Andrew made coffee this morning, breakfast on the balcony again. Beautiful ladybird birthday card from Andrew, a text from Barry and 24 birthday messages from my friends on facebook too, what lovely start to the day! Went out for lunch at Bella Vista fab salad then Andrew drove us to Almeria to the Green hammam in Aire. We had a pool session first, hot, cold & warm, steam room then a body scrub & massage each. Andrew had a head massage & I had a facial, really wonderful & so relaxing. A smoothie, a coffee & we went back to Casa Justa for quick change, then out again to meet Jackie at the bus stop & go down to Albir restaurante for a wonderful meal. We all ordered the scallops in tomato & tarragon and fillet steak, followed by crepes suzette for me, apfel strudel for Andrew & chocolate hazelnut cake for Jac, with a glass of Pedro Hernandez. All fantastic, this is another great restaurant near the beach. We got a taxi back to the village then to go to Daniel’s 50th birthday party at El Palacio, he’d kindly invited us as friends of Jac’s as we share the same birthday. Live music was great & we chatted to Lesley & Martha who were there too. Chatted to Daniel too for a while, he’s a very sweet person as well as being a very talented chef. Walked back to the hostal with Martha as she lives next door, having arranged to meet Jac, Martha & Lesley tomorrow evening. What a fabulous birthday, I have been very spoiled!

Wednesday 1st July

Coffee on the balcony and my now usual morning chat with Genevieve. After breakfast I went down to Jac’s bar for coffee & a chat with . Stayed talking till Andrew came down at 1ish then went over to Carboneras to El Cabo for another fantastic lunch Andrew had the avocado, smoked fish & prawns & I had courgette with tomato & mozzarella. Lemon, mint & cava & cheesecake to share for pudding. Afterwards we went for a paddle in the sea & collected seashells. Later on we met Jac at Bar Irene for drinks before dinner at Le Antler opposite Just Jackie’s. Afterwards we went to the reopening of Time & Place a pretty bar that Jac used to run with caves inside. Ashley the musician from last night was playing there too. Another lovely evening with Jackie, and a chat to Martha & Lesley too. But feeling a bit sad as it’s time to pack & leave tomorrow! 😥

Thursday 2nd July

Coffee, breakfast & packing all finished & packed in the car, including gorgeous new metal gecko for the garden that Andrew went to buy me this morning 😀. Said goodbye to Genevieve, whose been so lovely to chat to every morning so hugs & fond farewells with her. Off to meet Jackie at Bar Irene where we had coffee, water & chat to Jac’s friend from York & Conny & Ronnie. Said farewell, then went down to Tito’s with Jac for a last lunch, then to Alberto’s Gelatario for pudding. Sour cherry for Jac, waffles with sour cherries for Andrew & Black Forest, lemon cinnamon & chocolate ginger for me. All fabulous, this is the best ice cream place we’ve been to that’s not in Italy. Dropped Jac back at Mojacar, farewell hugs then we are off to Alicante airport. 😢 A stop halfway for coffee then arrived at the airport, dropped off the car, checked in cases all with no hassles. Coffee at Costa then our flight home was fine. We had quick cuddles with our cat, then fell into bed at 3am. Slept with Mischief on my head & Kwan wrapped up in my arms, we think they missed us!